With my colleague Peter Kraftl, we recently hosted the first workshop of the “Re-inhabiting the City: Bringing new life to city centres of emerging economies in a changing climate” project (31 Jan – 2 Feb). This interdisciplinary project, gathering architects, urban designers/planners and urban geographers, funded by the EPSRC/FAPESP, is led by Dr Lucelia Rodrigues (University of Nottingham) and Dr Joana Soares Gonçalves (University of Sao Paulo). It connects directly with my interests towards temporary urbanism as it questions the re-use/re-design of vacant spaces in Sao Paulo's vacant urban core.
The team spent the first two days deconstructing individuals’ understandings of the challenges undergone by central urban spaces and related methods used to conduct research in those fields. Drawing upon this, we revisited the bid and agreed on tasks and outputs. Discussions also led to identifying the set of case studies which will be used in Sao Paulo to conduct in-depth research and data collection. On the third day, the team headed to London to explore a range of initiatives, temporary and more permanent, aiming to bring new life to changing spaces and neighbourhoods. This included visiting temporary projects in Loughborough Junction led by Meanwhile Space Enterprise, meeting with the delivery lead of Pop Brixton, meeting with the place shaping manager of Team London Bridge, visiting Shoreditch and finally heading to Future Cities Catapult for an end of the day meeting and wrap-up.
The UK team will be off to Brazil in May and I am looking forward to being in the field and querying those spaces in need for transformation!